A group of nine TU-Berlin (Technische Universität Berlin) students in 2016 developed and released Synister, a free (open source) virtual synthesizer VST/AU plugin for PC and Mac based DAW’s.
The Synister Synthesizer for me has shaped up to be an impressive plugin that I can not believe was honestly made by a group of young students and is one of the nicest freeware giveaways of last year.
For me if I were to rate this plugin out of 10 I would give it a solid 9, and for the one point its missed out on is for such small reasons it feels silly.
The only negatives I came across is the lack of monophonic mode (or i completely missed it) and the Low Pass Filter in the delay FX module is placed outside the feedback path, which means you’re basically getting a static feedback signal instead of a different tone for every delayed copy of the input. #Annoying
Everything else to do with the Synister Synthesizer, well it couldn’t be more positive!
Let’s start with the obvious, it’s free! it’s compatible with both Windows and Mac! downloadable as a VST and AU! works both as a plugin and in standalone with 32-bit and 64-bit support, it’s incredibly annoying when we see terrific plugins only available for Windows and developed for 32-bit systems only.
Do you ever feel like the memories your fondest of in life are those that you remember the smallest details about? well not to get too sentimental and mushy on you! but some of the small intricate details of this plugin are what makes it such a unique instrument.
What sets the Synister Synthesizer apart from other freeware plugins and some paid, is firstly you get three oscillators (each with a choice of pulse, triangle/saw and noise waveforms) all of which can be modulated in a variety of ways.
For all three oscillators, you are able to modulate volume, pan, coarse tuning and waveshape with up to two modulation sources including three LFO’s, three envelopes and plenty of external sources such as velocity, a modulation wheel, aftertouch and a whole lot more.
So to put it in understandable English you can go above and beyond to program some complex patches without ever leaving the oscillator panel.
The three envelopes (one for volume and two for modulation) allow you to modulate envelope speed with up to two modulation sources. It is also possible to fine-tune the attack, decay and release curves. The three available LFOs are equally as mind blowing, allowing you to modulate the speed of each LFO and apply a fade into the LFO signal.
My favourite part of any Synthesizer is the filter and Synister does not disappoint! coming with two filters and offering four modes each (LPF, HPF, BPF and Ladder) and once again, up to two modulation sources for the cutoff and resonance parameters. All modules in the synthesizer can be turned off to reduce CPU usage, and its worth mentioning that the Synister Synthesizer handles stability and CPU very well, so you shouldn’t have any worries of it putting to much weight on your project.
And to wrap up this generous gift, you are given a vast array of FX including (chorus, clipper, bitcrusher and the aforementioned delay effect), and also including a great little step sequencer which can generate a random sequence in any note range which you can determine yourself, or you can have it generate random sequences in real time (every step is randomized while playing, cool right?) and of course you can also run it in conjunction with your host application and support triplets and dotted notes.
Synister is available for free download via GitHub (5.22 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac).